Sunday, January 10, 2010

Heather Ale

One of the beers that I am most excited to try when I come to Glasgow is the Williams Bros Heather Ale. In the book Fermenting Revolution: How to Drink Beer and Save the World I've been reading about beer diversity and how the Industrial Revolution has caused many beer styles and recipes to go extinct. For this reason, and also because in 18th Century the British banned Scotland from using anything other than malt and hops in their beer. In the 1980's a recipe was found for the Heather Ale, which uses heather and bog myrtle.

I have not seen the beer in Portland, Oregon (where I'm from) but I bet if I looked hard enough I could find myself a bottle of it. I'm more interested in tasting this beer in it's homeland though. Roots Brewing Co. here in Portland makes their own version of a Heather Ale. I have not tried it yet but I will make certain that I do before I head over to Scotland.

I'm interested in learning more about these traditional recipes as they show us much about the culture and life of their particular regions before the people were forced to change, and the diversity level dropped. I hope to find someone who would like to talk to a group about these recipes and about this history of these beers. We could incorporate their talk into the pub-crawl. There is some great content for art projects in the field of disappearing beer styles. This is something to keep thinking about.

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